The nightmare began on Friday March 15th when Mom Deborah took Chloe to her local GP. Chloe’s tummy was bloated and she had been vomiting since the evening before. As a precautionary measure the doctor suggested Chloe be taken to nearby Cork University Hospital for some intravenous fluids and to rule out appendicitis. Deborah says that all she remembers is wanting to be home on time to watch 'In The Night Garden' (Chloe's favourite) before bedtime. After an ultrasound was performed Deborah was told to immediately call her husband Gareth and Chloe was then rushed by ambulance to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin in the early hours of Saturday morning.
That Saturday was a complete blur of endless tests, biopsies, several scans & X-rays, meetings with doctors... & lots of prayers! At lunchtime on Sunday the 17th, Chloe’s parents received the heart wrenching diagnosis of Neuroblastoma, an incredibly rare and notoriously difficult cancer to treat due to its fast-growing nature. That was the day our world came crashing down. We were told to prepare for an extremely long and difficult road ahead.
The tumour was so large and spread across much of her abdomen and wrapped around several vital organs. When we initially saw those first scans we couldn’t comprehend how much of her little body was consumed with cancer.
Chloe immediately started a gruelling treatment regime of intensive chemotherapy in Crumlin Children’s Hospital to reduce the size of the tumour to operable level. A living nightmare began of lengthy hospital stays, intensive chemotherapy, sickness, blood transfusions, constant pain management, infections, hair loss, a failing kidney, major heart complications…the list goes on!
Chloe had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. While the tumour was shrinking, it was not pulling back from vital organs and was wrapped like ivy around major blood vessels. Chloe's left kidney was no longer functioning and her heart was under considerable pressure. For anyone who knows this terrible disease things can change at any given time and the family experienced many setbacks during these first few months.
Chloe’s family set up ‘Chloe’s Journey’ in August 2019 to generate funds to help with Chloe’s ongoing care so Deborah and Gareth could focus on her treatment and being by her side at this incredibly stressful time while Chloe continues to fight this horrible disease. For the moment Deborah and Gareth’s lives have been put on hold and have both had to take leave from their employment to provide full time care since Chloe’s diagnosis. Funds raised will help alleviate some of the financial stress associated with caring for a seriously ill child as well as travel, accommodation and living expenses involved in multiple hospital stays and clinics.
Chloe’s surgery was scheduled for the 20th of September. Following the removal of her left kidney, surgeons were able to remove 85% of the tumour. After recovering from surgery, Chloe was accepted by a hospital in Essen, Germany for specialist proton therapy to target the remaining tumour entwined around her aorta and right kidney. Chloe spent 3 weeks in Germany in December and returned home to Cork for Christmas to recuperate.
Chloe is currently undergoing additional treatment at home. A 6 month treatment plan which began in January - 2 weeks on / 2 weeks off cycle. The treatment comes with many side effects but every day Chloe just smiles her biggest, brightest smile and puts her best foot forward.
PS. Chloe took her first steps in February & we are beyond proud.
So far Chloe has been amazing. We are in awe of her strength and resilience; Chloe has endured so much. We don’t know what the future holds, but we will do everything in our power to ensure Chloe gets all the treatment that she needs. Funds will be used for day to day needs to remove the immediate financial stress for Deborah & Gareth & if the need arises to travel abroad at a later stage for potential future treatment. We know there is still a long road ahead and we don't know what the future holds for Chloe but we will continue on this journey with our hearts filled with hope.
Any funds raised and not used will be donated to charities that have supported Chloe and her family - Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, Hand in Hand, the Irish Cancer Society and the Ronald McDonald House.
Our family would like to sincerely thank everyone for their continued support.
You can follow Chloe’s Journey here - https://www.facebook.com/pg/chloesjourney2019/
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Fundraising team: Chloe’s Journey Team (4)
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